Short-handed Corn­huskers no match for Vol­un­teers


The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Teresa M. Walker

nashville, tenn.» Joshua Dobbs fin­ished his Ten­nessee ca­reer mak­ing one fi­nal move, help­ing All-Amer­ica de­fen­sive line­man Derek Bar­nett fig­ure out how to lead the band in “Rocky Top.”

“I was a lit­tle ner­vous,” Bar­nett said with a laugh.

Dobbs quickly chimed in: “He asked me what to do.”

The duo led Ten­nessee in cel­e­brat­ing Fri­day after the Vol­un­teers beat No. 24 Ne­braska 38-24 in the Music City Bowl. Dobbs ran for three touch­downs and 118 yards and threw for 291 yards and an­other TD, while Bar­nett got the sack he needed to break a tie with the late Reg­gie White for the Vol­un­teers’ ca­reer record.

The Vol­un­teers (9-4) beat a Big Ten team in a bowl game for a third con­sec­u­tive year and posted their first win in three tries against the Corn­huskers. It’s the first time Ten­nessee has won three con­sec­u­tive bowl games since 1994-96, when Pey­ton Man­ning was the Vols’ quar­ter­back.

“Great com­peti­tor,” Ten­nessee coach Butch Jones said of Dobbs. “I knew he was go­ing to play one of his best games. I was worried he was too amped up be­fore the game. I told him he had four quar­ters of foot­ball, don’t win it in the first quar­ter, take what they give you.”

Ten­nessee took a 14-0 lead in the sec­ond quar­ter and fin­ished with 521 to­tal yards, com­pared with Ne­braska’s 318.

Ne­braska started the sea­son 7-0 but fin­ished with a 9-4 record. The Corn­huskers lost four of their fi­nal six games after ris­ing as high as No. 7 in the na­tional rank­ings.

Ryker Fyfe, a fifth-year se­nior and for­mer walk-on, started at quar­ter­back for the in­jured Tommy Armstrong Jr., a four-year starter. Fyfe pulled Ne­braska within a touch­down in the fourth quar­ter. He threw two TD passes to Bran­don Reilly and ran for a 9yard touch­down with 10:02 left in the fourth quar­ter to pull the Corn­huskers within 31-24.

But Dobbs an­swered with a 59yard TD pass to Josh Malone for the fi­nal mar­gin, and sec­ond-year Ne­braska coach Mike Ri­ley said Dobbs’ ath­leti­cism was a fac­tor.

“He did a nice job of throw­ing balls right on time,” Ri­ley said. “But it looked like to me, too, that when it wasn’t there, he moved around and bought time.”

Ten­nessee quar­ter­back Joshua Dobbs scores against Ne­braska on Fri­day. Dobbs had 409 to­tal yards. Fred­er­ick Bree­don, Getty Im­ages

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